Part myth, part documentary, Heaven Through the Backdoor explores the mystery of death through the unconventional friendship of Anna and Yo, two kindred spirits born 49 years apart. Using intricately built miniature sets and other creations, the film juxtaposes intimate verite of Yo's last year with Anna's wildly imaginative interpretations of her stories. The film highlights the enduring power of friendship and what we learn from each other in life and through death.
Death is at once unthinkable and inevitable. Wrestling with this duality is the primary focus of our outreach goals for Heaven Through the Backdoor. When asked, most Americans have an opinion about how they want to die, but struggle to communicate and plan for that stage. The CDC reports that 70% of Americans say they would prefer to die at home, yet more than 70% actually die in a hospital, nursing home or long-term care facility.
Our outreach campaign includes the feature-length film & an immersive gallery-based show that features the 1/3 scale version of Yo's house, art and media. Project veues become gathering places for community members to interact with the material and each other, bringing a vital social element to how the work is experienced. We want to inspire empathetic links between the audience's own memories and the candor, openness and humor Yo's shares as she approaches death.
We believe that this project's unexpected, artful and intimate approach to this topic has the potential to catalyze thinking and conversation around family, aging and end of life. Thinking and talking about plans for the end of one's life is important and it often happens far too late. We want to get people talking about these issues early so that their wishes can be respected. We believe this project can help make an important cultural shift in attitudes toward death, old age and dying.